The men who fired outside activist Nayana Kathpalia’s Churchgate house remain elusive because her domestic help, the only witness, is too terrified to remember their faces.
Marine Drive police station’s Police Inspector Paraji Repale, who is investigating the case, said Kathpalia’s house help, identified as Soma Sinha, has not been able to give the police accurate descriptions of the gunmen.
“This is a problem, because the descriptions of the gunmen given by Sinha are vague and not enough to get sketches made,” said Repale.
Sinha is the only witness who saw the two men because when one of them rang the doorbell, she was the one who opened the door and spoke to him. “Sinha is our only hope of identifying the accused. The sketches have not come out well, but we’ll still try to round up the gunmen, and get Sinha to identify them,” said Repale.
On Friday, two assailants barged into Swastik building, located opposite the Oval Maidan in Churchgate, at 6.45 am and fired a round from a country-made revolver outside Kathpalia’s first-floor house.
Kathpalia, the NGO, Citispace’s 65-year-old co-convenor, who has been fighting for open spaces in the city, escaped unhurt.
A day after the firing, Kathpalia’s colleague Neera Punj was threatened on the phone to withdraw a petition filed in the Bombay High Court. The Marine Drive police traced the call to a public phone at Masjid Bandar, but have not yet been able to identify the caller.
“We have not identified the gunmen so far, or arrested anyone in connection with the threat call to Punj, but are taking the case seriously and making enquiries with anyone even remotely related to Kathpalia, with a motive to eliminate her,” said Z M Gharal, senior police inspector at Marine Drive police station.